Tim Hill

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Elstow, Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick. Learn more

Elstow, Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick Echo – Issue 16

by timhill on 10 October, 2012

This is the 16th of what I hope will be a regular electronic community newsletter from me as your local Liberal Democrat Borough Councillor.

I would very much appreciate any feedback you have on the content.

Village-wide Issues

Elstow and Stewartby

a) Elstow and Stewartby sites in Minerals and Waste Core Strategy – I attended the FCC Environment Public Exhibition in Stewartby on 26 Sep 12. I hosted a meeting with FCC Environment and Cllr Charles Royden as the Waste Portfolio Holder at Borough Hall on 2 Oct 12 with a view to ensuring both their Elstow South and Stewartby applications are provided in ways that minimise the impact on our Ward. They gave Cllr Royden and me a detailed overview of their plans for the Elstow South site. They also advised that they are planning to hold an exhibition IN the Elstow sometime this side of mid-November.

b) Community Safety – Just a reminder that I have persuaded the Borough Council’s Environment & Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Committee to hold its 11th October 2012 meeting in Elstow. Please attend to express your view on the level of community policing in the village. I look forward to seeing you there.

c) Change of Ward Name to Elstow and Stewartby – There is a consultation article on this in both Parishes Newsletters currently being delivered. Please help ensure your voice is heard even louder than now by writing to Fiona.McCabe@bedford.gov.uk expressing your support for this proposal. I have knocked on many doors in Stewartby to discuss this issue and every resident has been very supportive.


a) Village Heritage – Hosted meetings with Parish Cllr Ed Hiam, Cllr Doug McMurdo the relevant Portfolio Holder and Ian Johnson the Borough Conservation Officer. Doug has had a positive response from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Doug has now managed to speak to Hanson’s Land and Planning Director who has promised a response. Doug has agreed to another meeting in late November once he has met with Mayor Dave Hodgson and the Borough’s Chief Executive to review this issue.

b) Application for “Village Green” status for area behind Church – This is being progressed by Parish Councillor Jitka McAdam. If you want to protect this open space and have used it as an open space for recreation or play, please e-mail Jitka on j.macadam@cranfield.ac.uk saying you have done so and how long for. We especially need written evidence saying that it has been used for recreation or play for more than 20 years or so. If you can help in this way and the application is successful, this will finally completely secure the land from any threat of any inappropriate development.

Local Issues

Since my last Elstow, Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick Echo, I have amongst other local issues progressed the following raised by residents:


a) Travellers on Elstow Brook – I have been in discussions with the relevant Borough Director regarding preventative measures on the site. I am asking Elstow Parish Council to discuss what measures they would support and what their level of contribution towards the costs would be.

b) The Swan development – As you know, I have formally submitted my objections to the application as currently designed. I have supported the change of use for The Swan itself to a residential development but have objected to the car park development for various safety and conservation area reasons. In an e-mail dated 2 Oct 12, the Borough planner advised “Thank you for you email. Unfortunately we have not yet received comments from English Heritage on the proposals although we are expecting these shortly. Once we have these, Officers will be able to complete their assessment of the applications and I will be happy to advise of the likely officer recommendations. I will be in touch again shortly. “.

c) West End speeding – Residents have contacted me to express their concern at the speeding taking place on the old village side of West End. I met a Highways Officer on site who has since advised of the likely cost. The cost means it is not suitable for using my Ward Fund for it. I have suggested some street markings instead at the cost of the Borough.

d) Maintenance of grass verges on Abbey Fields – The Borough has clarified its responsibilities for the maintenance of each grass verge in the village. I will be consulting with local residents over the next few months on the application or not of “no-verge parking” orders.

e) Minor flooding on Wilstead Road – I have raised this issue with the Borough and am awaiting an update.

f) Tree supports on Waltham Drive – At the request of local residents, some of these that were in a poor state of repair have been replaced

f) Overnight parking by HGVs – This is happening on a bypass lay-by and residents are complaining of being kept awake at night by the resulting noise from the cooling units. I am awaiting an update from the Borough Council Officer who is investigating this.

g) Bunyans Mead properties – Local residents have complained to me about the state of some of these properties, especially a couple on the High Street. I have raised the issue with the Planning Enforcement Team. They have visited the site to take photographs and will be raising this issue with the various owners of the properties.


a) Flooding in Park Crescent and Pillinge Road – I have asked Borough Officers to chase Anglian Water on a date for their clearing of the pipe near Broadmead Lower. At my request, Borough Officers are also working on compiling a complete plan of all the drainage pipes etc. in the village. As usual O&H Properties are not being as co-operative as they could be.

b) Manor Road, Kempston Hardwick – Volume and speeding of cars. On 12th and 13th September 2012, the Borough Council put in place an Automatic Number Plate Recognition Camera and an Automatic Traffic Census to capture evidence of:

1. HGVs misusing Manor Road beyond permits and weight capacity.

2. All vehicles speeding.

The results are now being re-analysed by officers following initial inaccuracies spotted by me and the relevant Assistant Director.

c) G Moore applications for up to 90 extra vehicle movements outside normal working hours as “business as usual” –. I am still campaigning against these applications in the strongest possible terms despite a phone call from the owner of G Moore.

– G Moore’s application that seeks to enable the applicant to open up his site outside of the permitted hours of operation on up to fifty occasions per year was refused at the 24th September 2012 Planning Committee. Following lobbying of Planning Committee members by me, the Planning Officers recommendation to approve the removal of the requirement for an activated speeding sign was overturned and the requirement maintained at the same meeting.

– The Planning Committee date for G Moore’s application that seeks to allow operations to commence from 6am Mondays to Saturdays and the officer recommendation on it has yet to be decided.

d) Planning Application for land behind the Stewartby United Church in Park Crescent Ref: 12/01909/OUT – Residents have contacted me and are still doing so regarding an application made completely out of the blue by O&H Properties for six residential units on the land. I have advised residents to object to this application on the following grounds:

– The land has been declared an Open Space in the Borough’s Draft Allocations & Designations Plan on the grounds of its importance and use as a recreation area for local residents for many years.

– The land has been used by Stewartby residents for recreation and leisure for many years, including recently as a formal play area provided by the Parish Council.

– The proposed development would seriously affect the amenity (i.e. view) of the surrounding properties.

– Especially now the Stewartby Park development of 500 houses seems to be getting under way, there is no demonstrable need for any further housing of any type in the village.

I have spoken to the Borough’s Chief Planner on this application and he has confirmed that the Borough intends to maintain its position of the land being an important Open Space for the village.

Please support the campaign to get this application rightfully chucked into the dustbin of history by sending a:

–       E-mail of objection to Planning@Bedford.gov.uk

–       Letter of objection to Planning Department, Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford;

maybe using my objections above to do so.

e) Solar Panels in Stewartby – Residents have been in contact with me to clarify whether a solar panel installation in Stewartby needs planning permission. I have advised that:

–       Within the Conservation Area (broadly speaking Stewartby Way and most but not all properties to its south) – a solar panel installation does need planning permission.

–       Outside of the conservation area – under national guidance, planning permission is not required so long as it is not more than 200mm above the plane of the roof slope or positioned higher than the highest part of the roof.

f) Overgrowing bushes near Sports Club – Residents have contacted me with their concerns that these bushes are blocking a safe exit onto Stewartby Way. I have raised this with the Borough asking for action to address this issue.

Covanta Incinerator

The Parliamentary Committee Hearings are continuing.


Ward Fund

Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, each Borough Councillor has an amount of money on Projects in their own Ward. For 2012/13, I have made the following donations:


–       Installation of Conservation Area style street lights.

–       New Table Tennis Tables for the Elstow Table Tennis Club.

–       Village Gates at different entrances to the village.


–       Re-decoration of the Village Hall.

–       Dropped kerb on the Sir Malcolm Stewart Homes estate.

The above fits in with the promise I made in May 2011 when elected, to spend my Ward Fund in rough proportion to the number of residents in each Parish.

I have some money left for 2012/13 and have asked Elstow Parish Council for ideas on what they wish to spend it on. I would also appreciate your feedback on what it should be spent on.

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